Post-Holiday Funk

It’s real, folks. I wrote a bit on Monday about how I’m feeling the post-holiday hangover, and it hasn’t really gotten better. I’ve been sleeping like crap, and I haven’t worked out once this week. I actually skipped my Wednesday 6 am spin class today for the first time in about 7 weeks.

You might be thinking that I feel badly about this, or am worried about it. And under normal circumstances, I might be. Having no motivation sucks, and not working out isn’t good for my short-term or long-term health. But here’s the thing: marathon training starts next week. AND Mary Poppins rehearsals. Shit is about to get really, really busy, and really, really structured.

So I’m just kind of enjoying my last week of freedom. Instead of hauling my ass to the gym after work, I can just change into my PJs and play Skyrim for a few hours. Instead of getting up at the buttcrack of dawn to go to spin, I can stay in my cozy, warm bed and snuggle my kitties for another hour.

I’m also focusing hard on meal planning and prep, grocery shopping, and getting myself back into a normal sleep and eating schedule. The holidays hit me hard in those areas, and I’m working diligently to make sure that once things start to get crazy (probably next week), I have some infrastructure in place that will keep me healthy and happy. Very little guilt or worry here 🙂

Are you having trouble bouncing back after the holidays?

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Plan/Goals for the Second Half of the Year

I started this whole running thing without any specific goals other than finishing my first half marathon.  Now that goal has come and gone (read about it here), and I find that I’m lacking motivation.

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Yes, I could go ahead and sign up for a bunch more races (and I will), but for the moment, I’m kind of enjoying not being in “training mode.”  I like that I don’t have to forgo social engagements because they interfere with my running schedule, or avoid having a few beers on Friday night so that I can complete my Saturday long run.  In short, I like having my life back to normal.

That being said, I don’t want to just stop running.  Far from it.  I want to keep running and improving.  And I definitely want to complete another half marathon before the snow starts flying, which in Vermont, could be some time as early as October.  I’ve been seeing a lot of mid-year 2014 goal check-in posts, and they have inspired me to set some more concrete goals for the second half of the year, which will hopefully help keep me motivated.

So without further ado, here’s what I’ll be working towards for the next 6 months:

  • Sign up for and complete another half marathon
  • Sign up for and complete a 10k race (probably virtual)
  • Incorporate speed work and/or hills at least once a week, with the goal of consistently running 5k under 3o minutes
  • Get back to yoga.  I know this is kind of wishy-washy and non-specific, but I’m not sure what the yoga class schedule will be like at my new gym, and I don’t want to set myself up for failure right off the bat
  • Strength train at least once a week.  My hips were incredibly sore for a couple of days after my half, and I want to make sure that my muscles are able to support me on longer runs
  • Focus on recovery after runs.  I’ve been skipping the stretch and roll routine after runs a little too often, and I know that’s not good for me.  I’m pretty sure my tight calves are contributing to the pain in my foot, so I want to protect myself from injury and really limber up my muscles

That’s all for now.  I don’t want to have too many plates up in the air at once, especially since I’m still working on my #Chewsday Challenge as well.  I plan to do a monthly check-in on these goals to help me stay accountable and on-track.  I may also add or alter goals as things occur to me.

My running/training plan for the next little while will look something like this:

Monday:  Cross-train (yoga/body pump/strength train)
Tuesday:  Alternate hill repeats and speed work
Wednesday:  Cross-train (yoga/body pump/strength train)
Thursday:  Short, fast (for me) run (3-5 miles)
Friday:  Rest
Saturday:  Long, slow distance (6-8 miles)
Sunday:  Rest

Basically, I want to maintain my fitness, but not spend every Saturday recovering from a long run.  Once I sign up for my fall half, I’ll increase my long run mileage each week to get ready.

Do you set specific running/fitness-related goals? How do you stay motivated?

Running Even When You Don’t Want To

As you may recall from one of my earliest posts, will power is not my thing.  Follow-through is also not my strong suit.  I’m really good at making excuses for why I don’t need to run, why I shouldn’t run.  And then I’m really good at justifying those decisions with perfectly reasonable, logical arguments, so that in the moment, I feel good about choosing not to exercise.  And then later is the regret, the guilt, the questioning-of-life-choices and why am I such an idiot?  A huge part of my running journey has been learning to overcome the voices that make excuses and just GO.  I’m getting better, but most days, it’s still a struggle.  As I said to one of my blogger friends recently, “Inertia’s a b****.”

Last night was a scheduled run, and I just wasn’t feeling it.  I was exhausted from the 5k and birthday festivities this weekend, and my legs were really sore from Monday night’s cross-training.  On the one hand was the “listen to your body” excuse–You’re tired, you’re sore, you should probably just go home and stretch.  Come on, you worked really hard yesterday, you deserve a break.  Conserve your energy for Thursday’s 5k.  And then there was the other voice–No, don’t make excuses.  You’re not TOO tired, you’re not TOO sore.  Just start.  Just go and see how it feels.  I had a huge argument with myself and as I got in the car after work, I nearly drove straight back to Ben’s parents’ house and skipped my run.

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But instead, I pulled myself together, drove to our apartment, changed into my running clothes, and out the door I went.  It was a gorgeous evening–a bit overcast and a bit breezy, so it wasn’t too warm.  People and other runners were out all over the place.  I felt good.  I focused on just taking it slow and easy.  My legs didn’t hurt, my breathing was great, and I managed 2.6 miles.  I could have gone further, but honestly it was such a miracle I even went at all that I won’t complain or be upset.

Nicole at The Girl Who Ran Everywhere posted recently about marking runs as “wins” or “losses,” depending on various factors, and it was really thought-provoking for me.  I often think that if I don’t hit my scheduled mileage or go “too slow” that a run isn’t successful.  But when I think about it, last night’s run was definitely a “win.”  No, I didn’t complete my scheduled 3 miles, and I ran slower than I have in weeks.  BUT–I went, even though I didn’t want to.  AND–it was a good run.  No pain, no shortness of breath, good weather, and (once I got going) a good state-of-mind.  All of the doubts and the excuses just stopped the second I started running.

I am SO PROUD of myself for overcoming my excuses and just doing it.  It’s not really my natural state to exercise, and even less so to exercise when I don’t  want to.  Choosing fitness and a healthy lifestyle will probably always be a challenge for me, but hopefully it will continue to get easier, and hopefully I will make the good choices more often than not.

Do you ever had days where you just don’t feel like running?

How do you convince yourself to get out there and do it anyway?